Joan Burton has a lot on her plate including responding meaningfully to the Keane report and its recommendation of a national mortgage debt advisory service.
Astute observers of recent Oireachtas joint committee and Burton’s stakeholder forum will have noted the unedifying bun-fight that has broken out between MABS and its overseer the Citizens Information Bureau. The latter doesn’t believe the former is fit for purpose to provide the mortgage service. Seems the CIB would like to get its hands on the gig as it is “good” at providing information.
MABS which is a network of state funded independently governed companies is outraged and during the Minister’s recent stakeholder discussion forum two of its three representative arms spoke up in defence of its competencies which no-one questions when it comes to delivering on its mandate. Of course its mandate, competencies and resources are wholly insufficient to respond to the scope and scale of the service required. The CIB appears to think it has the where-with-all to do the job.
All consumer advocates both public sector and private sector flavours (bar a well-known self- promoting eejit who masquerades as one on his own forum) maintain that there has to be a total debt approach. They say that dealing with mortgage debt in isolation won’t do. It’s the case too that private sector solutions such as debt managers, debt advisers and the likes of New Beginnings haven’t the resources to provide a national solution.
So the ball is back in Joan’s court- and as usual the first problem she faces is an internecine squabble between two self-interested public service groups.